Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Wanna Route?

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  • Richard Kyle,

    I commute by bike and the do some off road stuff in the weekend...for the simlar reasons i.e. can't do the gym and working fitness into my day. Coming down Ngaio gorge at the mo is freezing (ain't no sunshine as Bill W would say).

    Thorndon Quay-southbound - has been turned into a cycle way /no parking from 7.00 - 9.00am but is only partially working due to the start/stop nature of restrictions. In maybe 500m the these change 4 times to cater to early morning businesses. I can appreciate why but currently it hasn't made it any safer for a cyclist.

    Favourite ride at present due to the wet weather has gotta be cycling up to the radome above Brooklyn and down to redrocks...great views of the kaikouras and nice weekend blowout.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    I actually really enjoy the airport ride. Having just last weekend moved from Market Road, and not been on a bike for several months, I don't quite have a new path worked out, but I used to go out to Onehunga, across Old Mangere Bridge, down George Bolt Drive, across to Puhinui Road, and back home via Papatoetoe and Otahuhu. Or in reverse, coming up Seacliff Road and Queenstown Road to get in some serious hill work. The shoulders on the 100km/h sections are very wide, which is one reason that it's a popular cycling route. There's also the smell of AvGas in the precincts of AIAL, if one is so inclined. Plus it's a fast ride, mostly flat, or at least relatively so, and wonderfully smooth in most places. I routinely topped 40km/h on some of the flat parts.

    The cycleway out to Te Atatu is also fun. Coming out to it by way of St Lukes, Mt Albert, New Lynn and Kelston in morning rush hour, not quite so much, but traffic has never been something that bothers me.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    My one tip is that cyclepaths aren't always the best route. When I'm commuting, I go up the Ngauranga Gorge to Johnsonville (that's Wellington if you don't know). The pavement up the gorge is a de facto cyclepath - it isn't signed as such, but everyone uses it and I only see a pedestrian about once a week. But at the top, the merge into J'ville gets hairy. If you stick to the path, you end up at an intersection where you have to cross several intersecting roads at once, with traffic on most of those roads with either limited or no sightlines to see you. It's a bit worrying. So the solution is to transfer onto the road just before the offramp (it's legal, as it's not a motorway at that point), then take the offramp with the motorised traffic. This can be a little intimidating, but is actually much safer than trying to navigate the intersection from hell at the end of the cyclepath.

    Otherwise: for Wellington cyclists, definitely check out the council's free maps of cycle routes. These include both the city and regional councils (so maps of routes up to Upper Hutt on one side, Paraparaumu on the other). Also check out the map of MTB routes: many of the "easy" routes provide useful shortcuts and are perfectly rideable on a hybrid. For instance, when I lived in Newlands I used to regularly ride to/from work via the Wakely Gully track.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 709 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    My commute. It's mostly pretty yuck-looking, which along with the heavy traffic and being just a bit too long for comfort, goes some way towards excusing me for only cycling once a week or so. Although now that my wife can drive, I may need to leave the car at home more often...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Whoops, looks like the Regional Council have dropped their paper maps in favour of a journey planner (http://www.journeyplanner.org.nz/) which is currently down for maintenance. But the WCC's mountain bike map is still available online.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 709 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Welch,

    Here's an urban mountain bike ride we did from Rode on Wednesday night with lights on. The Arch Hill mountain bike tracks were more challenging than I had expected and now I'm going to have to go back and give them a go without "dabbing". Big King gives an alternate view of Auckland and Oakley Creek is always worth a ride.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The cycleway out to Te Atatu is also fun. Coming out to it by way of St Lukes, Mt Albert, New Lynn and Kelston in morning rush hour, not quite so much, but traffic has never been something that bothers me.

    The SH16 cycleway needs an upgrade to widen a couple of very narrow stretches, but the fact that it provides a (mostly) unbroken path from Newton Road out to Te Atatatu Peninsular and the Twin Streams project out by Lincoln Road is pretty amazing.

    I try and avoid traffic around St Lukes if at all possible. I'll map and post this, but I have a nice regular ride from Western Springs to the Sandringham Road curry quadrant: through Fowlds and Gribblehurst Parks, then up Sandringham. Back via the Don Croot Treeway and Rocket Park.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Ants,

    When I lived in Parnell I use to ride this once or twice a week:


    good hills!

    Another good option is to go over the old Mangere bridge and do a loop around Ambury Park, Wallace road, Greenwood, Oruarangi, Ihumatao. then a quick ride up George Bolt to Montgomerie or back the way you came.

    The full on rodie ride you would take you along waterfront to start with then Panmure, Pakaranga, East Tamaki, Airport then back this way.. of course that is a much busier option.

    One of my favourite Auckland rides is in the Waitak ranges but this is quite a lot harder and is much busier these days so have to be very confidant or do early morning. options are Huia and back, Piha down to beach and back up, then down to Karekare beach (watch the step downhill section) then up Lone Karui road - I just love that road really fab. Lots of other options too. Mountain road is great too.

    Hamitlon • Since Sep 2008 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    I cycle as a commuter (quite a frosty week this week in Hamilton!) and also at weekends and on holidays for fun and pleasure.

    My commute is possible via two main routes: right out of the drive then down to Donny Park, through the park (and it really is a nice, small park with loads of new planting, and tuis have been around there for a few years now!) and up out of it (it's really a huge gully) onto Opal Place (one of many exits), along Bankwood Road, left and right along Heaphy Terrace then into the developing glory of Claudelands Park (lots of new planting, a new pond!, and lots of ways to walk/cycle over it), then across into East Street, cross Peachgrove Road (a horrible junction: great care needed!) then into Ruakura Research Centre, right at the little roundabout, past the Waikato Innovation Park, left onto Ruakura Road, right at the roundabout and into work through gate 2a (then up the hill to G block). A lovely ride at any time.

    The other route is left out of the drive then River Road, Thames Street, Kitchener Street, Piako Road, Heaphy Terrace, Brooklyn Road, then right as it bends left, over the little railway crossing, down the end of Whyte Street to Te Aroha, left over to Ruakura Road, then as above. Roads all the way, but very pleasant through parts of Hamilton around River Road.

    The Council and I have been exchanging words over the cock-up in re-painting the Te Aroha/Ruakura junction (advanced stop lines now hardly advanced, and months to get the green re-surfacing done), and I've never seen so much glass on roads as here (and I speak as a cycle-commuter in London for 11 years!), but you get used to riding with your gaze a metre in front of your wheel....

    All in all, you just can't beat cycling for commuting---and in Hamilton there's due to be an "experiment" involving bike racks on buses (or perhaps just one to Raglan for the moment---I hope it catches on).

    Hamilton is surrounded by lovely weekend rides too---as long as you can avoid the Fonterra tanker drivers and their apparent mission to deny the road to cyclists with the most extreme prejudice---which Fonterra washes its hands of.

    All we need now are some little country pubs, and bridleways/footpaths across all that countryside so we can all enjoy it close-up, rather than from the road---all those fields with nothing in them, but fenced and gated all the same! What a waste!

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Arch Hill mountain bike tracks were more challenging than I had expected

    I told you, didn't I? I now feel vindicated, as opposed to like a whiny noob ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Irvine,

    The route I route most often is the commute to work from East Coast Bays, through Milford before negociating Takapuna's Pave (!) then along Lake Road's dastardly bike lanes to Bayswater road and the ferry. Then it's a dash up Albert St, Vincent St then Houpetown St to the office.

    Here's the mapmyride to the old office.

    It's about 18 KMs each way, and I do it on a road bike, twice a week (at least) to fit around child ferrying commitments. I'd ride it most every day if I could. It means I do a litte more than *no* exercise and turn up to work awake. I thoroughly enjoy it.

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Clarke,

    We live just off the Riverhead-Coatesville Highway, which is very popular among road cyclists, especially on Sunday mornings.

    The long slow drag up the hill from Albany to the Highway also always seems to attract large groups of lycra-clad masochists, come rain or shine. Usually rain, come to think of it.

    Be warned - the R-C Highway road must be covered in nails, based on the number of tyres I see being repaired every time I'm driving along there. So carry your puncture repair kit. Or join the AA.

    There are some nice views along that road, to be sure. I certainly can't fathom any other reason why people would want to go to Riverhead, anyway.

    Riverhead Forest is also very close to us, which keeps the off-roaders happy, apparently. I don't cycle (mixture of not wishing to die under a car, laziness, and a recent war wound) but it seems pretty popular, and I know quite a few people who rave about cycling in the area. I'm not sure it's really commutable to the CBD at least, not because of the distance (only 33km) but because at some point all the roads leading to the city seem to become impassable to bikes. But for those lucky enough to work on the Shore, too easy!

    -36.76, 174.61 or thereab… • Since Nov 2006 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • AllanM,


    An alternative to avoid the Ellerslie Panmure Hwy, is to hang a right after Ellerslie and head down to Gavin St, left onto Penrose Road through to Waipuna Rd, left onto Ireland Rd. That brings you to the Panmure roundabout nightmare, but that can be negotiated with the pedestrain lights, or turning right from Ireland into Cleary, then going behind the Panmure Pools to get on to Lagoon Dr. Or the reverse home, of course. It probably adds some distance, but I'm all for avoiding traffic and roundabouts.

    Auck • Since Nov 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Welch,

    I certainly can't fathom any other reason why people would want to go to Riverhead, anyway.


    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Clarke,


    Yeah, it's ok but this year's beers have been a bit lacklustre for my tastes.

    Interestingly the Riverhead Tavern has been bought and is undergoing renovation at the moment. Hopefully they'll be able to turn it into something a bit special. No pokies would be a start.

    Slightly off-topic - but definitely transport-related (well, if you intend to cycle to party-central) - Muzza returns with tail between legs...


    -36.76, 174.61 or thereab… • Since Nov 2006 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Thanks AllanM.

    Actually the EPH and roundabout are the least of my worries (I have no compunction about approaching the roundabout in the centre lane, sticking my hand out and rolling around at 20km/h - it's not like the traffic is going any faster). The bad bits are the bridges over the inlet, the dastardly 3-lane Panmure bridge being the worst; having to cross Harris Rd to get to $JOB (OK I admit it, going south I ride on the footpath); and coming home, the narrow stretch of Balmoral Road just before Mt Eden road.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 856 posts Report Reply

  • Rob S,

    Not to worried by rush hour so take the cycleway from Western Springs to Massey then down to Henderson along GNR all the way back in time to make the kids school lunch with the traffic induced adrenalin intersecting nicely with a hot shower and first coffee. Not at all impressed with the cycleway flooding on a king tide [flash mavic ksyrium wheelset].
    The best ride in my opinion is scenic drive on the weekend approximately 55km door to door, good views, clean air and the cars have been noticeably friendlier/respectful since the road sharing signs were put up. Cafes at either end and a bloody good workout!

    Since Apr 2010 • 136 posts Report Reply

  • stuarth,

    Having lived in both Auckland (North Shore) and Wellington (Island Bay) I really appreciate Palmy Nth's compact size; I can escape the city quickly and get into the Tararua foothills for some short road or mountain bike rides without dodging heavy traffic. I prefer not to cycle to work though, the city centre is not as cycle-friendly as it could be.

    Palmerston North • Since Jul 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    The places where state house suburbs merge with "nice" neighbourhoods (and that's a handy thing to know if you want to understand what the government's doing with the impending Waterview Connection – which goes underground right where the housing gets nice).

    After reading that Granny article on the Waterview Connection, I can easily visualise the protesters chaining themselves to the bulldozers. Prostetnic Vogon Joyce strikes again.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5445 posts Report Reply

  • Ray Gilbert,

    I commute from the New Lynn side of Blockhouse Bay into the Auckland Med Schoolin Grafton daily - if the weather's not looking flash I cycle, if it's clear then I ride a scooter (slightly grown up version of the one kids ride, not the motorised type). Most of my ride is either up or downhill so it keeps me fit.

    For a weekend ride I like to do the country roads around the northwest of Auckland - I try to avoid SH16 as it scares the pants off me. There are some seriously cool roads with great climbs and hair raising downhills.

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Heh, look at all these middle aged men with their cycling bidnezz!

    Ok, me too, but I mainly stick to the country sealed and gravel roads out the back of Brightwater and Wakefield in Nelson. I don't like the iPod bobbling around too much to wreck my noise reduced playlist action, and I'm a softie.

    Suffice to say though, it's cycling heaven on the tracks around here including Wairoa and Aniseed Valleys, Rabbit Island and the Brook and Maitai Valleys in Nelson.

    Loads of info on the tracks here:

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I'm a runner and now and again find myself on the same course as cyclists (forestry tracks, Dunedin's "green belt", metal roads on the outskirts of the city, etc).

    Most of the time this presents no problems. However, sometimes a cyclist can speed past you from behind with no warning. You can't hear them coming and I suspect cyclists assume runners can.

    This is dangerous and has led to several near misses and a couple of nasty "nose-to-tail" accidents.

    If you're a cyclist please yell out "cyclist behind" if you're approaching a runner or runners from behind and we'll happily move out of the way.

    Don't get me wrong, I like cyclists, but it gives you the shits when a mountain bike whizzes past you just inches away without warning.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Hoult,

    I'm in Johnsonville, Wellington. I tend to find about a 30 km ride is right for me, especially given that I've got a 200m climb back up to the house at the end of it (or 300m and back down coming back from Makara).

    My usual rides are to Makara and return, to Titahi Bay and return, or if I'm feeling energetic, around the Pauatahanui Inlet (about 45 km, or 30 km if I drive to Tawa first).

    Johnsonville to Makara is a very quiet road once you get past the main lifestyle blocks in Ohariu Valley, but also very narrow. The other rides can have quite heavy traffic at times.

    Some of my rides can be found at:


    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    If you're a cyclist please yell out "cyclist behind" if you're approaching a runner or runners from behind and we'll happily move out of the way.

    Fair call. I always try and make sure the runner/walker knows I'm coming.

    The problem is sometimes that they're wearing earbuds and may not hear you even if you shout.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Hollywood,

    I'm no cyclist myself but my partner took up serious cycling last year. It first I thought it would be a passing "phase" and that she'd soon be revert back to the previously unhealthy lifestyle she'd/we’d adopted years ago (and one that, to my shame, I still have) but it just hasn’t happened. What started out as semi-regular 30 min rides has become 2-3 hours daily and she’s now completely and (seemingly) irretrievably addicted to it – to the point where if she doesn’t get out on her bike daily she actually gets extremely irritable and moans like crazy about “missing out”. This is a woman, just turned 41, who never did any exercise at all – nada, no jogging, gym, just the odd beach walk – but cycling has completely transformed her into this mean, lean, fitness machine. It has been a real revelation for her (and for me, observing this rapid change in mindset). Nothing startling there I guess but wanted to share it nonetheless, as an endorsement that the whole cycling buzz does actually exist. I think environment plays a big part (Kapiti Coast, beach route) but I like to think I’ve contributed a little too by painstakingly compiling ideal mp3 soundtracks for her journeys – she’s subsequently morphed from being a lover of soulful downbeat music into a total Trance/Technohead and frequent requests for “more Armin van Buuren!” have become very concerning indeed. I can barely keep up with the requests for fresh bpms so I shudder to think what it would be like if I dared to join her on a bike one day.

    Since May 2009 • 51 posts Report Reply

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